Ford and Lopatin
Channel Pressure


4.0
excellent

Review

by conradtao EMERITUS
June 8th, 2011 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: If GLaDOS made electropop...

"The artists formerly known as Games." That addendum, tacked onto every single blog post about Ford & Lopatin's debut full-length, Channel Pressure, is ungainly, yet it serves as a helpful summarization of what Joel Ford (Tigercity) and Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) are trying to do. Yes, the duo's name change was really the result of what Lopatin called a "shwagy situation", but it also indicates a new earnestness in their approach. I liked last year's That We Can Play EP well enough, but it struck me as slight, almost intentionally so. Not so with Channel Pressure, which comes complete with actual vocal melodies, that seemingly omniscient album cover, and an extremely loose concept about some dude named Joey Rogers who lives in the year 2082 and has to fight robots in the music industry with MIDI as his only weapon.

Uh...okay, then. But if that was all Ford & Lopatin were working with, we wouldn't have an actual album so much as a bunch of jokey ideas strung together on MilkyTracker. Thankfully, Channel Pressure's concept is less about actual storytelling and more about providing some sort of contextual justification for Ford & Lopatin's retro-futurism. On paper, the duo's melding of syrupy '80s soft rock with electronic experimentalism should be right on trend, fitting neatly into the hypnagogic scene that has so taken the indie community by storm in the last couple of years. But the production on songs like "Too Much MIDI (Please Forgive Me)" is too perfectly polished to be placed alongside Memory Tapes and his ilk. And the vocals here are creepily emotionless, purposefully robotic, acting as the voice of God if God sounded like a male version of GLaDOS. It's genuinely weird, and weirdly successful too, giving the knowingly cheesy melodies a welcome (if superficial) feeling of gravitas. Nothing here is as immediate as, say, "Shadows In Bloom" or "Strawberry Skies", but given that Ford & Lopatin so insistently want Channel Pressure to be interpreted as an album, not just a collection of songs, that's to be expected. Besides, the sonic backdrop of Joey's adventure is plenty intoxicating in its heterogeneous nature; layers build upon one another and drop out without warning, beats appear out of nowhere, and flangers are employed liberally.

All of which could have made Channel Pressure a grating experiment of genre fusion. There are moments here where the duo's use of vintage equipment takes precedence over, well, actual composition, giving off a distinct whiff of "look at us, we're so clever!" But then they take the cheesiest synthesized "dooba-dooba" vocal patch ever and place it atop the candy-colored hooks of "World of Regret" and "Surrender", and suddenly the artful pastiche is worth the occasional moment of excess. Certainly, the intricacy of Ford & Lopatin's textures help make Channel Pressure compelling enough to sustain repeated listening. That's a very good thing, especially given the duo's seeming disregard for writing interesting lyrics - most of the time, they make vague references to the album's concept or express some generic sentiment along the lines of "Big Brother is watching". So instead of hearing the title track's constant repetition of "welcome to the system", I listen for the recurrent flute trill that's a dead ringer for the iconic theme of "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly". Which, I'd venture, is a pretty fair trade.



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user ratings (38)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
MisterTornado (3.5)
Glitched electro-pop and smooth MIDI jams for the Vice City harbor...


Comments:Add a Comment 
conradtao
Emeritus
June 8th 2011


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM6qHiiBLao



My personal favorite off of the record.

robin
Emeritus
June 8th 2011


4515 Comments


i would venture to say this review is pretty good

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2011


16295 Comments


i really, really love this album right now because it's basically exactly what i've been looking for
lately. i've really been interested in the work of oneohtrix point never and his influences and peers-
-that sort of cheesy but also really pleasurable 80s-synth type stuff that stems from tangerine dream
et al. when the games track "everything is working" came out it pretty much launched my interest in
that sort of stuff, so i was really anticipating this album for a long time. the poppy stuff on this
is awesome.

"break inside" is my favorite.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2011


16295 Comments


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xE9H4NC-zY&feature=related

feel me, dog

pizzamachine
June 8th 2011


13866 Comments


Read summary. Listening now.

conradtao
Emeritus
June 8th 2011


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That summary may be the dumbest thing I've ever contributed to this site



Wow

pizzamachine
June 8th 2011


13866 Comments


Maybe, but now I get the benefit of imagining GLaDOS making electropop.

conradtao
Emeritus
June 8th 2011


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think GLaDOS would take better care to make her lyrics intelligible and insulting than Ford & Lopatin do here.

sportsboy
June 10th 2011


689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

adult swim's singles program just released too much midi (please forgive me) for the 1st single



obsessing over it

Digging: Sonic Coaster Pop - Super Miracle Circuit

ECRbubs
June 27th 2011


687 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this album is a cheesy delight

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2011


16295 Comments


i listen to "break inside" almost daily

sportsboy
July 8th 2011


689 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

too much midi is waaaay too good

conradtao
Emeritus
September 10th 2011


2090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Video for "Surrender": http://video.adultswim.com/music-videos/ford-lopatin-i-surrender-music-video.html?cid=vplayer_music-videos_ford-lopatin-i-surrender-music-video



I don't know what I just watched.

PappyMason
November 25th 2015


5702 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm on the freeway

Ryus
November 25th 2015


16506 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

shit is d o p e



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